Senator Tammy Baldwin Pushes for Amendment to Aid Holocaust Victims in Nazi Loot Claims

Baldwin Tammy



Lucas Cranach the Elder’s paintings of Adam and Eve at the Norton Simon Museum are the subject of a dispute between  the museum and the heirs of Jacques Goudstikker.
Photo: Rachael Moore/Flickr.

US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently included an amendment in a fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill that will boost US efforts to assist Holocaust victims and their heirs in realizing property restitution. According to a release from Baldwin’s office on July 14, the spending bill passed through the committee with a vote of 27 to 3 and will now head to the full Senate for consideration.

Baldwin Tammy

Senator Tammy Baldwin<br>Image: Courtesy of


“It is tragically unacceptable that seven decades after the end of the Holocaust, the restitution of formerly Jewish communal, private, and heirless property remains and outstanding issue,” Baldwin stated in the release. “I was proud to see this amendment clear a hurdle in the Senate.”

The bill in question is the State Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill.

Gideon Taylor, chair of operations for the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), said the group “applauds Senator Baldwin’s leadership and continued support in Congress for the return of Nazi-looted property across Central and Eastern Europe.”

Baldwin’s amendment requires the State Department’s annual report on International Religious Freedom to include an assessment of the progress of foreign countries regarding the return of wrongfully confiscated Holocaust-era assets. You can see the full language of the amendment here.

Recently the WJRO, of which billionaire collector and Neue Galerie co-founder Ronald Lauder is chairman, released a lengthy and detailed report criticizing several US museums for stonewalling Holocaust claims.

The report named the Norton Simon Museum in California and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma as examples of such institutions and called for federal legislation to help victims get a proper hearing for their cases.

The WJRO was formed in 1993 to advocate for the return of Jewish property taken during the Holocaust.

For related coverage, see:

Holocaust Survivor Sues for Return of Looted Camille Pisarro Painting

Dutch Government Returns Paintings to Heirs of Holocaust Victims

American Association of Museums Goes Easy on Nazi Loot

Gustav Klimt’s Woman in Gold Goes On View at Neue Galerie



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